12 Unmissable things to do in Norway | Complete Guide


The commonly used phrase, “This place is heaven on Earth” literally applies to Norway. If you are looking for scenic beauty on your vacation, Norway is one of the best choices for that. In summer this country offers spectacular hiking trails, fjords, waterfalls and midnight sun. In winter it offers ski resorts, ice hotels, husky ride and northern lights to add to the already breathtaking beauty. Here are the best things to do in Norway in all the seasons.


1. World’s largest whirlpool at Saltstraumen

  • Saltstraumen is a strait connecting two fjords near the town of Bodo in Norway. This narrow passage of water is home to the strongest tidal currents in the world. Additionally, it is also home to the largest whirlpools or maelstrom in the world.
  • This strait is 20 mins drive away from Bodo. You can take a boat trip in this strait to experience the huge force of the currents pulling your boat. I was able to spot few tiny whirlpools here and there. The guide informed me that these whirlpools gets bigger on the days when sea is rough. Boating on those days are obviously cancelled.
Man standing on Trolltunga rock overlooking the surrounding views
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

2. Drive on the Trollstigen Road

  • Trollstigen is one of the most famous road in Norway. Not only this road is an engineering marvel but also it is surrounded by breathtaking scenery like mountains and waterfall.  If you look at it from the top, you will be able to see the beautiful curves made by this road amid stunning mountains and a waterfall in between to add to its beauty.
  • This road has numerous adrenaline pumping hair pin turns so it is advisable to stop you car at one of the  viewpoints to adore the surroundings. If you are into professional cycling, then this is one of the best places to do that.
Aerial view of Trollstigen road with surrounding views
Photo by Ivars Utināns on Unsplash

3. Adore the Langfossen Waterfall

  • Langfossen waterfall is located about 5 km’s from the town of Fjaere. This spectacular 2000 feet high waterfalls comes down from a towering mountain producing a huge amount of force. The views are increadible.
  • The world waterfall database has declared this falls as one of the best in the world.
Panorama of Langfossen waterfalls
Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

4. Hike the Nigardsbreen Glacier

  • This spectacular glacier is a branch of the largest glacier in Europe. This glacier is home to blue colored ice which is very eye pleasing. It is a short drive from the visitor center of Breheimsenteret in Jostedalsbreen National Park . The glacier is connected to a lake which you can cross via a boat or by walking along it.
  • Now there are 2 ways to see the glacier. Once you reach the tip of the glacier, you can either take a close view, take lots of photos and get back. Or you can have the experience of a lifetime and hike it. There’s obviously no better way to explore the in and out of this natural wonder than hiking it. It’s so quiet that you can hear the ice breaking and moving. Its scary and exiting at the same time. You need a certified guide for a hiking this glacier which you can book via a tour.
Panorama of Nigardsbreen glacier and connected lake
Photo by Dawid Małecki on Unsplash

5. Stay in the Lofoten Islands

  • Located in the country’s north coast, these islands are also one of the northernmost populated place on the planet. Thus it is very close to the arctic circle and thus one of the best places on the planet to see the Northern lights and midnight sun.
  • Surrounded by majestic snow capped mountains, spectacular rock cliffs, dreamy Norwegian fjords, and the iconic red houses to contrast the endless snow, the Lofoten islands archipelago seems like a place of unreal beauty. If you look the aerial view of this place, you won’t be able believe your eyes.
  • Things to do here include many hiking trails leading to stunning viewpoints, visit the many arctic beaches with gorgeous sand and connected ice, stay in a Rorbu (fisherman’s cabin renovated into an apartment), eat the local cuisine and more.
Panorama of Svolvaer on the Austvagoya island in Lofoten archipelago
Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash

6. See the Northern Lights

  • Northern lights is a natural display of light in the sky and it happens due to some advanced science which even i don’t know about. But the point is, it breathtakingly beautiful. Just imagine gazing the endless sky full of stars and suddenly you see a natural beautiful display of lights with beautiful colors, wouldn’t that be the best thing ever?
  • These lights generally occur near the poles, thus the northern part of Norway is one of the best places on Earth to see them. This includes the Lofoten islands, Alesund and many more places. There are certain areas or spots which not only has the highest probability of seeing them, but also offer best views of it. If you are a local or someone who knows these places, you can go there by yourself. So you can simply opt for a Northern Lights tour provided via several companies. As mentioned earlier, seeing them is not a guarantee no matter which tour you take.
Photo of Northern lights from Tromso in Norway
Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

7. See the Midnight Sun

  • Due to the North Pole (and countries in the Arctic circle) being exposed to 24 hours sunlight during the summer season, you can experience, as the name suggests, the midnight sun in various such places in the Arctic circle.  You can literally see the sun setting a little bit at midnight, only to shine bright again after some time. This is an experience you should have in a lifetime, no matter from where you choose to see it.
  • Rovaniemi is one of the best places to see it and it is one of the top thing to do there in summers. Again, there are many companies operating tours for this, i will recommend Lapland Safaris. These tours take you places offering perfect landscape to best experience the whole midnight sun process, that is the sun setting and than rising up again. These places can be river, lakes, forests or wilderness.
Aerial view of Austvagoya island at midnight
Photo by Andrew H on Unsplash

8. Hike Trolltunga

  • Trolltunga is one of the spectacular rock formations in Norway. This rock juts out of cliff at a height of 3600 feet. When you stand on this rock, you will be offered a breathtaking view of a lake underneath with surrounding towering mountains. This spot offers very cool photos, and naturally it has been one of most instagrammable spots in Norway. This also made Trolltunga one of the most famous hikes in Norway.
  • The only bad news is the hike pretty demanding. A round trip from the parking takes about 8-12 hours covering a distance of around 26 km’s. You need at least medium skill level to complete this hike. This hike is most recommended from June starting to September end.
  • If you are an expert hiker, you can join a guided tour provided majorly by Trolltunga Active and Trolltunga Adventure. From October to May, only guided tours and recommended for the hike.
Man standing on Trolltunga rock overlooking the surrounding views
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

9. Cruise a Norwegian Fjord

  • Fjords are long and narrow bodies of water surrounded by cliffs. Norway is filled with many fjords and it is one of the beautiful and famous things about the country. These super scenic water bodies offers breathtaking views of the cliffs submerged in water as long as the eyes can see.
  • The best way to enjoy the views is by a boat. As mentioned, Norway has many fjords and almost each of it offers a boat trip. Here’s the list of the best fjord boat tours in the country. You can choose anyone depending on which scenery you like the best and how it fits your itinerary.
  • One of the most famous and common ways to do a fjord tour is via Norway in a Nutshell tour. As he name suggests, this tour tries to show you the best Norway scenery via a train, boat and bus ride in a single ticket. Each transport will show you a different aspect of the spectacular nature this country has on offer. Again, this tour has many options depending on which regions you are covering. You can find the options in the link given above.
Panorama of Geirangerfjord in Norway
IMAGE CREDITS: wall.alphacoders.com

10. Whale Watching

  • Norway is home to many types of whales including the massive blue whale. They are majorly found near the areas of Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelago and the city of Tromso. Thus, whale watching tours and conducted from these 3 areas.
  • If you haven’t done whale watching before, this is an unmissable experience especially in this country as this is one of the best places on earth for this. This activity is available all year round in this country.
  • Whale watching tours in this country have generally 2 boat options: Pirate ship or the smaller speed boats. Pirate ship tours are cheaper and they carry more people obviously. It has a upper and lower deck for viewing. It is a better option if you have sea sickness due to larger size. The speedboat being more swift is able to track down more whales and also provides much closer views. They are mush more adventurous.
  • Pirate ships tours start around 72 USD while speed boat one’s goes to around 130 USD. If you don’t have sea sickness and don’t mind spending extra, you should opt for the speedboat tour.

11. Ice Restaurant and Bar

  • This is one of the coolest things we did in Norway, literally. Many regions around the world especially in the Arctic and Antarctic circle offer many ice restaurants and ice bars. The fascinating thing about them is that the entire structure of it including the walls, chair, table, glasses and everything else is made of ice. The bar serves drinks in a ice glass while the restaurant serves food on an ice chair, just imagine!
  • Such restaurant and bars are typically housed in an entire ice hotel. Such structures are are made from scratch every year in winter for obvious reasons. Everything is obviously pricey, but this experience is worth every penny.
  • Norway offers many such restaurants and bars. The best one’s include Tromso Ice Domes in Tromso, Sorrisniva in Alta.

12. Stay the night in an Ice Hotel

  • Now, this is a different level of unique. Like ice bar and restaurant,  Norway (and many other countries around the world) is home to many ice hotels. An ice hotel is made entirely of ice, literally. From the walls to the tables, even the bed is made of ice. So basically you are going to sleep for the whole night in a room made entirely of ice.
  • Ice hotels generally have a separate warm non-icy area where you can keep the bags, change, use the loo and more. The ice rooms are just meant for sleeping. They provide ice sleeping bags for comfortably sleeping through the night.
  • A night in a full ice room is obviously super expensive (generally starts from 1000 USD), no matter where you choose to experience it. I will definitely say that the experience is worth every penny, but that is something you can’t afford, just make sure to atleast take a tour of a Ice Hotel. Apart from the restaurant, bar and rooms, most of the ice hotels also offer activities like Husky sledge rides, northern lights chase, sauna and more. You can combine such tours with a tour of the ice hotel.
  • Norway is home to many ice hotels. The best one’s include Tromso Ice Domes in Tromso, Sorrisniva in Alta.
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